Arlington, Va.,—April 9, 2012—Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association today announced the grand prize winner and four national finalists in the second annual Shell Science Lab Challenge. The competition encouraged teachers (grades 6-12) in the U.S. and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover valued at $20,000.
“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Vice President, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Manager, Social Investment. “The Shell Science Lab Challenge strives to support inquiry-based instructional practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and possibilities of science through active learning that emphasizes questioning, data analysis, and critical thinking. Exemplary science teaching is more relevant when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts can be explored by students.”
“These science teachers have implemented truly remarkable science programs, providing quality lab experiences for their students with very little resources,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, Executive Director, NSTA. “We commend the winners of the Shell Science Lab Challenge for their creativity, resourcefulness and commitment to their students.”
To enter the Shell Science Lab Challenge, science teachers of grades 6-12 in the U.S. and Canada were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why the school’s laboratory facilities might be classified as “limited” resources, and describe their approach to science education instruction utilizing their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators then reviewed and selected the top entries.
Grand Prize Winner: Kristy Martens, Westmount Charter School, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Martens uses a design-based approach to teach science, giving students few procedural instructions. This allows students to explore scientific concepts and gain experience actually building something to help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Westmount Charter School’s facilities create some challenges to this approach. The school has only two chemistry labs, which have inadequate ventilation and damaged lab surfaces and share one sink, while the sole physics room contains only two electrical outlets and no high school physics equipment. Martens believes an update of the labs would allow her to provide safe, hands-on science education, as well as expand the curriculum to include the full Advanced Placement science program.
National Finalist: Jennifer Bagardi, Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, Detroit, Mich.
Located in a former Detroit elementary school, the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter high school, follows a project-based learning curriculum to inspire students to attend college and make a difference in their community. When the academy opened in September 2011, Bargardi had only $600 with which to supply the science department. She employs an “Everyday Science” approach, using familiar, low-cost items such as gelatin and rubbing alcohol to give her ninth grade students hands-on learning opportunities.
National Finalist: Lance Doss, Wagoner High School, Wagoner, Okla.
Doss strives to make science class a hands-on endeavor for his special education students. His students learn science skills relevant to everyday life through classroom activities and lessons, preparing them to be as independent as possible. With no lab of his own, Doss borrows equipments from colleagues teaching general science education when he can. He hopes to create a lab within his special education classroom that allows for more differentiation of lessons to meet the needs of his students whose disabilities span a wide range.
National Finalist: Dr. Manuel Paul Peña, Longfellow High School for Pregnant & Parenting Mothers, Minneapolis, Minn.
Peña uses an inquiry-based approach to science teaching to make a difference in the lives of his students. The alternative high school, founded to help pregnant and parenting female teens succeed academically, is located in a former elementary school built in 1903. Classroom space is tight, so Peña shares a room with two other teachers teaching in different disciplines. He poses questions to students for discussion, drawing on their experiences and sharing his own as they work toward an answer. Hands-on investigations are challenging as the classroom lacks secure storage for equipment such as microscopes. Although the school uses technology to compensate for what the classroom lacks in physical space, Peña says access to better lab facilities will help prepare his students for 21st century science careers.
National Finalist: Denise Ponte and Joseph Mastroeni, Roy W. Brown Middle School, Bergenfield, N.J.
Ponte and Mastroeni share room 237 at Roy W. Brown Middle School, teaching 300 seventh and eighth graders Earth science, physics, and life science. The classroom was last updated in the late 1960s, when new lab tables were installed. Despite the outdated facility, Ponte and Mastroeni work to connect science lessons to their students’ lives using project-based lessons, creating opportunities for students to explore their world and participate in investigations, collecting data and developing critical-thinking skills. They hope that by updating the lab it will allow them to conduct more self-directed investigations and provide more collaborative learning opportunities for their students while including students with disabilities and English language learners.
As the grand prize winner, Martens will receive a science lab makeover support package for their school valued at $20,000. The prize package includes an $8,000 Shell cash grant, $8,000 in donated lab equipment, $1,000 in NSTA prizes—to include an NSTA bookstore gift certificate and NSTA conference registrations, NSTA memberships and NSTA Learning Center subscriptions for two teachers—and an expense-paid trip for two teachers to attend the 2012 NSTA National Conference on Science Education.
The four national finalists will each receive a science lab makeover support package for their school valued at $8,500. The prize package includes a $3,000 Shell cash grant, $3,000 in donated lab equipment, $1,000 in NSTA prizes—to include an NSTA bookstore gift certificate and NSTA conference registrations, NSTA memberships and NSTA Learning Center subscriptions for two teachers—and an expense-paid trip for one teacher to attend the 2012 NSTA National Conference on Science Education.
VWR is also supporting the Shell Science Lab Challenge by providing equipment to the winners.
Recognizing that the laboratory experience is integral to science education and that many schools, especially schools in urban and rural areas, do not have the resources to invest in quality lab equipment, NSTA and Shell partnered on the Shell Science Lab Challenge to bring much needed lab materials and resources to school districts nationwide and in Canada.
For more information about the Challenge, visit http://www.nsta.org/shellsciencelab/.
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), www.nsta.org, is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA's current membership includes more than 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
About Shell Oil Company
Shell’s commitment to community and social responsibility has been in place for more than 50 years. During this time, we have contributed more than a billion dollars to support community, health and welfare, environmental, arts and cultural activities, various educational initiatives, including minority education, and diversity and inclusiveness programs in Houston and the U.S.
FOR INQUIRIES CONTACT: Shell Oil Company Media Line +1 (713) 241- 4544
The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this announcement “Shell”, “Shell Group” and “Royal Dutch Shell” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. “Subsidiaries”, “Shell subsidiaries” and “Shell companies” as used in this announcement refer to companies in which Shell either directly or indirectly has control, by having either a majority of the voting rights or the right to exercise a controlling influence. The companies in which Shell has significant influence but not control are referred to as “associated companies” or “associates” and companies in which Shell has joint control are referred to as “jointly controlled entities”. In this announcement, associates and jointly controlled entities are also referred to as “equity-accounted investments”. The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect (for example, through our 23 per cent shareholding in Woodside Petroleum Ltd.) ownership interest held by Shell in a venture, partnership or company, after exclusion of all third-party interest.
This announcement contains forward looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Shell and the Shell Group. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management's current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Shell and the Shell Group to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “goals”, “intend”, “may”, “objectives”, “outlook”, “plan”, “probably”, “project”, “risks”, “seek”, “should”, “target”, “will” and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Shell and the Shell Group and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward looking statements included in this announcement, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell's products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions. All forward looking statements contained in this announcement are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Additional factors that may affect future results are contained in Shell's 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2011 (available at www.shell.com/investor and www.sec.gov). These factors also should be considered by the reader. Each forward looking statement speaks only as of the date of this announcement, 22 February 2012. Neither Shell nor any of its subsidiaries nor the Shell Group undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward looking statements contained in this announcement.
Shell may have used certain terms, such as resources, in this announcement that the SEC strictly prohibits Shell from including in its filings with the SEC. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in Shell's Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website. You can also obtain these forms from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330.
Kate Falk, NSTA